It’s International Music Day so save yourself the steep travel tickets and get your international fix right here! From Mwenso and the Shakes to World Music Institutes 4-Night Festival of Mali, we’re proud to present you with a list of upcoming must-see international artists at Brooklyn Bowl New York! Take a look and listen and mark your calendar’s for an experience that will take you an a musical world tour!
1. Sinkane on October 19
Born in London before moving to Sudan, Ahmed Gallab, known to most as Sinkane, combines his percussion-heavy style with ethereal worldly sounds. His debut to the music world began in 2008 with his first EP, Color of Voice followed by tours with Caribou and Of Montreal as their drummer. Since then he released albums Mars and Mean Love establishing his role in the world of psychedelic rock. Pitchfork refers to his discography as “a weekend immersed in your local record store’s world music rack.” Sinkane’s latest release Life and Livin’ It covers the ebbs and flows of life, compiled of positively breezy sounds, riveting horns from Brooklyn Bowl vet’s Antibalas, and inspired conga riffs throughout. Sinkane’s music is worldly with his own funky twist. Don’t miss the chance to explore the world without a passport with Sinkane on Thursday, October 19!
2. Mwenso and The Shakes on October 23 + November 14
“We’re figuring out ways to play this music as art, but as entertainment, too,” says Mwenso. The music scene isn’t just about the music anymore. Performance and entertainment are key, and no one understands that more than Michael Mwenso and The Shakes. This hardcore jazz-infused folk band performs electrifying shows that seamlessly combine music with a powerful live experience. Come travel through this 2-night musical journey on Monday, October 23 and Tuesday, November 14!
3. The Original Wailers on November 7
Bob Marley passed the torch to his lead guitarist, Al Anderson, leaving him to carry out his final dying wish – to continue his legacy. From Bob Marley to The Original Wailers, Anderson is known for classics like “No, Woman, No Cry,” “Them Belly Full,” and “Rebel Music (3 O’Clock Roadblock).” He’s played with legends like Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and of course, Bob Marley and The Wailers. Their sets include combinations of Marley classics as well as original works, keeping the legacy of the golden age alive. Be sure to catch these guys to celebrate the positive vibrations on Tuesday, November 7!
4. Kranium on November 22
Kranium believes that “we need something fresh man, you hear the same thing every day,” which is why this dancehall artist seeks out different sounds like Bollywood music for inspiration. “It’s all about melodies, I don’t understand much but it’s fun, it’s different,” and he’s ready to do just that, pushing the envelope and making dancehall music more commonplace in the music industry. Named after his ability to record on the spot without the use of pen and paper, Kranium has been churning out hit after hit. From “Nobody Has to Know” to “History,” he’s just getting started. “Nobody Has to Know” caught the eye of major celebs like Drake, who covered the song while on tour, and Amber Rose, who posted a video on Instagram of her dancing along to the song. He recently released his latest hit, “Can’t Believe” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and WizKid. Don’t miss Kranium on the next wave of dancehall reggae on Wednesday, November 22!
5. Toumani Diabaté + Sidiki Diabaté on April 13
The Diabaté’s have created the legacy of the kora, a 21-string West African harp. Considered to be one of the most complex string instruments in Africa, the kora has been since used as a storytelling device, and the Diabaté’s are no stranger to that. They have a long history in African music as descendants from a line of griots, who are custodians of ancient oral traditions of West Africa’s Mandé people. Tomani’s father, Sidiki Diabeté was the first ever to record a kora album in 1970, highlighting it as the lead instrument. Toumani followed in his fathers footsteps by incorporating bass lines with ancient melodies, and since then, he’s collaborated with artists like Taj Mahal and Björk. Among his supporters include past President Barack Obama, who chose Toumani Diabaté’s collaboration with Taj Mahal as his all-time favorite album. Now, he’s back to create a father-son album of duets, which Toumani describes as “the past meets the present for the future,” and was made “to show the positive side of Mali.” Experience 70 years of music making and tradition at the opening night of the Festival of Mali with Toumani Diabaté and Sidiki Diabaté on Friday, April 13!
6. Sidi Touré on April 14
Sidi Touré strongly believes that “unity is strength and joy is unstoppable.” He’s a Songhaï artist, who is rooted in celebration, positive energy, and unity through entrancing rhythms. While working on his fourth release, he incorporated the Toubalbero, a large traditional drum meant to call and gather people from Gao, Mali. This helped create an electric, danceable album that featured many up and coming Malian artists and drove his message of unifying people through joyous music. Little will stop Sidi Touré from spreading his musical message. While recording his albums in a modest tin-roofed studio, he would create a schedule around the weather to ensure that the rainy season wouldn’t get in the way of his music making.
His dedication can also be heard on his albums as he purposely records and mixes albums live to encapsulate a truly energetic feeling. Come together with Sidi Touré and understand his sense of community at the second night of Festival of Mali on Saturday, April 14!
7. Trio Da Kali on April 15
World Circuit, Trio Da Kali’s record label, describes the band as “an endangered species in contemporary Malian music.” The trio, each of which are descendants of distinguished griots, formed to create the ultimate griot ‘super-group.’ Da Kali, meaning ‘to give pledge,’ is the band’s promise to stick to their roots. Staying true to their heritage and ancient tradition, the trio consists of a female vocalist, a balafon (xylophone) player, and ngoni player. Their fusion of contemporary sounds with ancient melodies leaves listeners feeling their griot grooves. Be sure not to miss this ‘super-group’ in action for night 3 of Festival of Mali on Sunday, April 15!
8. Derek Gripper on April 15
Derek Gripper is always looking for ways to redefine the music world. Known as the impossible man for his ability to play kora sounds seamlessly on guitar, Derek Gripper is continually looking for musical inspiration, especially in his travels and musical studies in South India. He used his findings to redefine South African music, but he still wanted more. Derek Gripper took on the challenge of transposing the complex melodies and compositions of the kora to a six string guitar. He succeeded and realized he could replicate the ancient melodies on guitar and proved that on his ninth album, titled One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali. Many artists were skeptical, especially Toumani Diabaté, who needed to confirm visual proof of the compositions being played guitar. When Diabaté found Gripper’s guitar playing to be true, he invited him to Mali to collaborate, and since then, Gripper released his new album, Libraries on Fire, which explores kora duets on solo guitar. Watch the impossible come to life on the third night of the Festival of Mali, and catch Derek Gripper with Trio Da Kali on Sunday, April 15!
9. Fatoumata Diawara on April 16
Rebel with a cause. Fatoumata Diawara, a Wassoulou artist, defies all odds by going against the grain and pursuing her passions no matter the cost. Refusing to attend school, she was sent to live and be disciplined by her aunt in Bamako. While on film sets with her aunt, Fatou landed a one-line role in ‘Taafe Fangan’ or ‘The Power of Women,’ and it was only up from there. She gained multiple leadership roles, most notably in the popular 2001 film, ‘Sia, The Dream of the Python,’ which was set and filmed in Mali. It tells the story of a West African legend called Sia, a girl who defies tradition, a role fitting for Fatou, a headstrong woman determined to follow her dreams at whatever cost.
She made her role her new lifestyle. As offers poured in, Fatou was forced to turn them down publically because her parents wanted her to settle down. Unmarried, she was seen as a minor and all decisions now required family permission according to Malian society. Refusing to be under their control, she ran away, evading the police and flying to Paris, where she performed with the Royal de Luxe, a street theater company. The company toured around the world, and in her spare time, Fatou would sing. One of her directors overheard and began her solo career at company performances. During breaks in her tour, she would play in Parisian clubs and cafes, landing her a record deal with World Circuit and her self-titled debut album Fatou, which she performed at Paul McCartney’s show in London. Don’t miss Fatoumata Diawara, the rebel with a cause, close out the Festival of Mali on Monday, April 16!
10. Ibibio Sound Machine on April 28
Ibibio Sound Machine seamlessly combines danceable storytelling through song. With their international pop sound, Eno Williams, the band’s vocalist, pairs electronic beats with folk stories from her childhood, weaving them into beautiful melodies that have become the backbone of the band’s music. Their self-titled debut album, Ibibio Sound Machine, sung in her mother’s native Ibibio tongue, infuses electronic club music with Nigerian funk and pop. They recently released their new album, Uyai, meaning ‘beauty,’ which according to NPR, “reach far beyond the borders of geography, music, and emotion.” Be sure to come out and dance with them on Saturday, April 28!
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